It’s an intense environment and while some people are able to handle it solo (when everyone around you is with a friend or partner), it’s highly unlikely that you are one of those select few.
It's primarily an extreme camping trip — they need to be resourceful, fun to be around even when hot, dirty, sleep-deprived, etc.
If you have friends who don't meet this criteria, that's fine! Plan on meeting up at the event, just don't camp with them.
You will definitely want to sleep past sunrise, but the heat will get you very quickly. There are plenty of further optimizations, but this is the place to start.
At the very least, figure out where the sun is going to rise and place your tent in the shade of your car.
Dust storms are hard to predict and surprisingly powerful. They can whisk away anything that's not tied down and can simultaneously dump 1/4" of dust on everything in your tent. You’re going to need serious stakes (most people use rebar) and you’re going to want something to protect people from hurting themselves on those stakes or getting caught by the guy lines.
Which is a serious bummer 😕
Much of Burning Man takes place at night, in the dark.
You need to make sure you can be seen by people on bicycles or in (art) cars to prevent collisions, but you also want your friends to be able to easily find you (when you’re traveling as a bicycle gang as well as on foot through a crowd).
But it’s also a new and excellent form of self-expression! e.g. my favorite bike wheel light, a rainbow
- 🔋🔋 bring extra batteries!
Playa dust isn’t very compatible with the inside of the human body and I’ve heard that your body can’t really get rid of it 😬, so at a minimum you’ll want to keep your airways filtered in a whiteout.
I think the dust actually helps prevent sunburn, but remember you’re very exposed out there, for much longer periods of time than you’re probably used to and the playa is somewhat reflective so it’s a bit like being in the snow or on the water. I have favorites to recommend and I always carry a 1oz spray bottle with me to reapply and share with friends (old and new).
My go-to strategy is to bounce from food event to food event. You’ll often strike out, but it is an easy thing to motivate yourself and your friends to venture out for. It will cause you to bike new routes and stand in line or sit at a table with new people in low-stakes interactions. And as you go from place to place, making discoveries along the way, you can always abandon that food quest and instead follow your interest or curiosity. 🕸
This is partially for efficiency—it’s a big place and it will help you explore further reaches of the city.
But it’s also just a fantastic place to bike: flat, basically no traffic, friends to bike alongside in a little bicycle gang. Livin’ the dream.
But it’s a difficult environment for bikes, so don’t bring a precious one. And depending on what the weather has been like in the wet season and also whether the playa has recently gotten muddy and then driven or walked on, there can be sluggish drifts of dust or bumpy washboard patches.
(E-bikes are pretty epic out there)
See below for objects to help. I bring a bottle of 40,000 volts or trace minerals which both taste terrible if not mixed in something, but are probably good for replenishing what you’re losing. Packets can be nice, and you can mix them in your mini nalgene that I recommend below. Be careful of artificial sweeteners 🤢
Trace Minerals | Power Pak Electrolyte Powder Packets | 1200 mg Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium | Boost Hydration, Immunity, Energy, Muscle Stamina | Orange Blast | 30 Packets
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At Burning Man, the ecosystem is so delicate and there are so many people all in one place that you can’t just pop a squat on the playa — you need to go visit the porta potties or you need to have a solution for peeing in your camp. Guys usually have a jug (I recommend a detergent bottle for camp and I’ve saved the day with a more portable Gatorade bottle while sitting in-place with my friends waiting for the man to burn), but women need a little more planning to manage the same level of stress-free hydration.
- I think the pStyle is a great place to start. Cheap, small, easy to pack, easy to wipe clean, etc. They call these devices “pee funnels” but I think it’s better to think of them as “pee redirectors” — easier to use than a funnel would be and much easier to clean.
pStyle | Stand to Pee with Ease While Fully Clothed | for Women, Non Binary, & Trans Men | Made in The USA | Reusable Pee Funnel is a Game Changer for Camping, Music Festivals, and More!
Pee standing up without undressing. It is a simple design that works exceptionally well. Because it is made of rigid plastic, the device is easily maneuvered through clothing and properly positioned. The rounded back edge is used to wipe with so there are no drips! It can be cleaned with soap and...
- The Tinkle Belle is more expensive and has softer contact points and a longer reach. But is more likely to attract lint and is a little more cumbersome to deal with since you’re meant to fold the chute under, but it also comes with a zippered carrying case and is less likely to crack if mistreated.
The Tinkle Belle Female Urination Device | Portable Urinal with Case! Stand to Pee While Staying Fully Clothed! Easy, Compact, Reliable for Hiking/Camping/Travel/Concerts/Festivals/Dirty Toilets
The Tinkle Belle is a female urination device that allows women to urinate easily and discreetly while fully clothed and while standing up! ~The Tinkle Belle eliminates squatting in outdoor recreation settings, and eliminates hovering over dirty moist toilet seats in public restrooms or gross po...
More tips on nighttime peeing:
- practice before you go, potentially in the shower.
- if you have the equipment, naturally or otherwise, I recommend peeing into a laundry detergent container — no one will confuse it for water, it has a nice handle for carrying to the portas, a tight-fitting lid, and even a gauge on the side to remind you to dump it. I’ve heard of some people cutting off the narrow pour-spout, but I’m not sure how much that actually opens things up. There are also purpose-built options:
Urinals for Men Spill Proof by PerfectMed (2 Pack) - 32 oz/ 1000 ml | Portable Urine Bottle Bed Pan W/Glow in Dark Lid | Thick Plastic Pee Urinal Bottle
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- even if you get good at using your funnel, bring a wide-mouth container with a tight-fitting lid that’s stable and easy to squat on, for times when you’re completely exhausted and can’t be bothered — e.g. the mixed nuts containers from Costco.
- keep in mind that your tent-mate might envy your setup, so maybe try to get them to either plan for themselves or commit to ensuring that your containers are always sufficiently empty that you won’t be dissuaded from using them.
- A very small amount of RV septic treatment will help prevent your pee bottle from getting gross, even if you don’t dump it daily. I’d approach this option with caution - the chemicals seem corrosive.
I use Scott's softer septic-safe single-ply option, now called “Comfort Plus”
I roll them up while in the Gate line on the way in and then keep my little TP snack-sized ziplocks in my bag and give them as playa gifts (they’re also handy to have in normal life, so I keep one in my glovebox or in the
Reliance Products Aqua-Tainer 7 Gallon Rigid Water Container
Just the right weight for being able to move it around while still handling a lot of water. If you’re planning on leaving it on its side with the spigot out, be sure to wrap it well with plumber’s tape to prevent dripping. (But it’s pretty easy to just heft it upright between uses.)
(usually cheapest at Walmart)
Lots of places serve beverages, and you’ll need your own cup. You’ll often see camping cups hanging off of peoples backpacks or outfits, but you gain a fair amount of flexibility by not needing to finish off your drink before heading on to your next adventure. 16oz seems good; I got mine at REI when they were doing cute things for Pride 🌈
Keeping hydrated is important (and easy to neglect—it’s so dry out there that you often don’t notice that you’ve been sweating) and you’ll want a few things with you all the time anyway: mask, headlamp, TP, empty beverage container, etc.
I’ve never showered on the playa, and I’ve never really felt the need. But it can feel amazing to clean yourself up a bit. I like to wipe my feet off before bed and then put lotion on. After a dust storm, wiping your face off can reset your day. And it’s very important to make sure your undercarriage is nice and clean—yeast infections and UTIs suck even under ideal conditions :/
I personally like the baby ones from Burt’s Bees:
Great for strapping lights onto your bag or your bike. Great for various repairs.
When riding your bike, keep your bike lock “locked” in order to minimize the amount of dust that ends up in the mechanism.
You’re going to be locking and unlocking your bike all day every day (and night) and it might be a little annoying to always latch your lock before riding away, but your future self will thank you.
In general you should be thinking of ways of making you and your friends visible at night in order to prevent accidents and in order to find each other. This one just sparks a lot of joy and makes me wish I rode a bike at night in my normal life so I’d have reason to use it more.
🌟 There are all different kinds, and you can probably find something that's more "you" but I point them out because they're a way to get sparkles without generating MOOP like with glitter or sequins. (And remember that you can always cut them up to do something more custom.)
STARRY EYE JEWEL set of 25 premium waterproof temporary metallic gold and silver jewelry foil festival Flash Tattoos, metallic tattoo, boho tattoo, face tattoo, face glitter, star tattoo, eye jewel
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☠️ I’ve never tried long-lasting temporary tattoos, but I’ve seen a lot of advertizements for them over the last year or so 🙃 and Burning Man seems like a fun environment to try something new out.
Rock Star Librarian
2022 RSL Music Guide, download it Tuesday, Aug 23rd, time TBA - it will be posted here! Deadline to submit to the 2022 Music Guide Friday, August 12th 9pm PT Shake and groove to bass beats here, 365 days a year, and tantalize your aural pleasures with regional and global sounds and sets burning year round.
BURNER MAP. A printable map of your pals on the playa.
Tracking down friends in Black Rock City used to be harder than cleaning playa dust out of gold-sequined booty shorts. Now you can share your camp location, ask your friends to do the same, then print and pack your playa map along with your goggles, glowsticks, and Grandma Glitter's Homestyle Gamma Ray Bacon Baker. (sold separately)
It’s actually one of my favorite fb groups, year-round, but it’s about half bullshit and half helpfulness. (I’ve heard that this one is also good and has explicitly banned bullshit 😆)
Burning Man Survival Guide 2022
BLACK ROCK CITY is a temporary metropolis built in Nevada's beautiful, remote, and inhospitable Black Rock Desert. You are responsible for your own survival, safety, comfort, and well-being, and for Leaving No Trace. This Survival Guide will help you thrive at Burning Man.
10 tips for staying healthy at Burning Man
Next month, nearly 70,000 people from around the world will converge in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for Burning Man, a weeklong event dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. Over the course of a few days, the empty desert (or “playa”) will be transformed into a temporary metropolis called Black Rock City, filled with wondrous camps, incredible art, round-the-clock music and more.But as fun as this may sound, spending a week in this desert environment “is not for the faint of heart,” says the official Burning Man site. Daytime temperatures frequently exceed 100 degrees. Blinding dust storms are a daily occurrence. The desert sand is highly alkaline and sticks to everything. And of course, getting a good night’s sleep is the last thing on anyone’s mind.So how do Burners stay healthy on the playa?Here are 10 health tips from Michelle Rhee, a One Medical physician and Burning Man veteran.
Black Rock City Playa Info
Black Rock City Playa Info. 14,967 likes · 4,694 talking about this. Playa Info is the Information resource center in Black Rock City where u can get all ?s answered!
In the Aftermath
Being in a clean air conditioned space is great. The casino/resort is non-smoking. They have a great pool area. The luxuriousness of the experience is really satisfying after a week of roughing it in the desert.
If you want to relax, you basically always have to stay at a hotel for at least two nights. It sort of ruins things if you know you have to wake up in the morning and pack up and check out by 11am or whatever. You’ll want to sleep in as late as possible and then order room service breakfast and take a nice bath in the spa tub.
The Tuscany Tower used to be the nicest part of the hotel to book.
Costco has historically had Peppermill deals if you are a member and book through them.
It’s a free festival that takes place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning from ~4:30-8:30am the weekend after Labor Day, and is one of the best Reno events. Plan on parking many blocks away and hoofing in on foot, carrying a picnic blanket or camp chairs to settle in for the couple hours of spectacle.
Remember that it will get cooler until dawn (the event starts in the dark and that’s an important part of the charm), so bring layers—most people will have hats and blankets or jackets. But also plan on being mobile with your gear so you can wander around the balloons when they all lay out in the field to launch at 7am (which I think is the best part).
Very family friendly, but leave your dogs at home if you want to wander around the field with the balloons (which you definitely do).
Traffic is crazy near the event. Whether you’re parking or ordering a car, try to stick to bigger thoroughfares like Keystone. Though the ride-share drop off on Washington might be tolerable.
It’s the best way to clean off a lot of your gear that can’t go in the washing machine and should really be the first step even for the things you wash.
(Wear a good mask—playa dust doesn’t play nice with lung tissue)
It’s great for your car as well: inside and under the hood. A good detailing place should have their own air, but they might not be as dedicated as you would be.
They make surprisingly quiet ones now, and they come in handy for other types of tasks—I often find myself torn between sucking and blowing now that I have an excellent vacuum and an excellent air compressor.
Try to beat as much dust out of your clothes as you can before they go in. And I’d try a pre-soak and an extra rinse.
You will almost instantly lose motivation and you’ll find yourself a year later trying to figure out what needs batteries and what crusty thing needs washing, etc.
Make sure they use their air blowers to try to remove all the dust from under your car’s hood—the dust is corrosive.